Overview - Dol-Jatra & Holi Festivals February 2023

Day 1 - Flight
Days 2 - 4 - Kolkata
Day 5 - Bally Bridge
Day 6 - Bandel
Day 7 - Kalna
Day 8 - Mayapur
Day 9 - Fulia
Days 10-11 - Kolkata

Spendology - Widgets

Artisans of Bengal

Embark on our new Artisans themed cruise along the Hoogly river through the heart of Bengal and discover traditions with manifestations of artisans, renowned weavers, writers and poets who inspired the Bengali Renaissance

The Ganga has witnessed the rise of vibrant civilisations, providing for the formation of cultures laden with mesmerising creativity, science and healing. Bengal, the point where the Ganga meets the sea provides abundance of spiritual and material wealth. Join the delightful RV Bengal Ganga on our new themed cruise along the Hoogly river and immerse yourself in the heart of Bengal, the artisans, weavers, writers and poets who inspired the Bengali Renaissance. As you sail, follow the faint sounds of weaving from villages on the river and learn about thriving ancient crafts, ode to the communities who settled here turning river islands into renowned centres for fabrics.

It is almost 90 years since the cotton town of Darwen in Lancashire welcomed Gandhi where the mill-owners tried to influence him by showing the hardship and pain the textile industry was suffering due to the Indian independence movement boycotting manufactured cloth from Britain. Gandhi said “My dear, you have no idea what poverty is.” Due to high cost of foreign cloths and the monopoly of Indian mill owners, Gandhi held a passionate view on handlooms’ role in the nation’s economy and promoted spinning for rural self-employment. Today, handlooms occupy second place to agriculture in providing livelihood to the people of Bengal.

Key Features

Culture and Riverscapes
New Cruise
Excursions Included
No Single Supplement
Full Board on Cruise
Local Expert Guides
Group Size: 8 – 28

Special Departures

Festival Departures

Join us on our departures during some of India's most famous festivals.

27 Feb 2023: Festivals of Dol-Jatra & Holi

Day 1 Fly overnight to Kolkata via Dubai.

Day 2 Embark RV Bengal Ganga. Visit the Weaver’s Studio and Textile Study Centre. Introduction to the fabulous fabrics and weaves you will see. The textiles are all handcrafted by both men and women crafts persons using varied techniques of hand block printing, screen printing, roller textures, stencils, sprays, hand paint, surface ornamentation, hand embroidery and hand weaving. (L, D)

Day 3 Visit Mother Teresa’s Home and Tomb. Optional walk to her orphanage, Sishu Bhawan (Children's Home), where one of the sisters will lead us on a tour. View the Kalighat Temple for the Pattachitra paintings. Visit the Indian Museum, one of the oldest museum in the world. (B, L, D)

Day 4 In Kolkata, explore the flower market and Kumartuli, a potters’ quarter famous for sculpting, clay idols and Sholapith (reed) handicrafts. Visit College Street Book Market, famous for its small and big bookstores and the largest second-hand book market in the world and the largest book market in India with a collection of almost any title ever sold in Kolkata. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Tour of Kolkata, viewing the well preserved British colonial buildings, including view of Writer's Building, General Post Office, High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), Town Hall, Council House, Treasury Building, Reserve Bank of India and Dalhousie Square. Visit St. John’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Kolkata with a painting of the Last Supper by German artist, Johann Zoffany, and several tombs of British Generals who died during the Siege of Kolkata by Nawab Shriaj Ud Daula in 1756. Visit Victoria Memorial Museum which houses the largest collection of British colonial historical artefacts. Sail upstream passing below the cantilevered Howrah Bridge and seeing various colonial buildings along the Ganges river Overnight by Bally Bridges. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Sail upstream to Bandel, founded by Portuguese settlers. Visit the Hoogly Imambara, a Shiya pilgrimage centre with a Victorian-era clock. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Sail to Kalna. Cycle rickshaw to Rajbari Temple Complex which has the highest concentration of temples in the region. Visit a local weaver’s home to see the traditional weaving of muslin cloth, a cotton fabric of plain weave made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. Visit the local market. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Sail to Nabadwip, the birthplace and abode of Saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Hindu Vaishnav religion and a great social reformer. Explore the riverbank to see the locals engaged in handloom weaving. Sail to Mayapur, home of the Krishna Consciousness Movement. Experience the fascinating culture of these followers and their ornate, colourful decorated statues of Krishna. The new temple was built to commemorate the Jubilee year of the ISKCON movement in 2016 and largely funded by Alfred B. Ford, the great grandson of car-maker Henry Ford. It also contains a 75- foot domed planetarium. Walk through the pilgrim’s bazaar. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Sail to Guptipara, renowned for its paddy fields and the Himsagar mango. Visit the Temple complex with fantastic terracotta works. Visit a potter’s home. On the way back to the ship, witness the Dol-Jatra, based on the legend of Lord Krishna expressing his love to his beloved Radha on this full moon day. Like Holi, colored powder is a key part of festivities and everyone can be given a 'mark of respect', basically getting covered in color. The festival is also known as the 'Swing Festival' as idols of both Krishna and Radha are paraded on highly decorated palanquins. In the afternoon, visit the weaving village of Fulia specialised in jacquard and jamdani saree weaving which are based on Tangail Handloom Saree Culture of Bangladesh. Jamdani is one of the most time and labour-intensive forms of handloom weaving, and the most artistic textile rich in motifs. After the partition of India and the division of Bengal into West Bengal (in India) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), many skilled weavers from Bangladesh, came and settled here and the region become a renowned centre for hand-woven fabrics. With government encouragement and support, the talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Sail to Chandernagore, a French colony in 1673. Celebrate on board Holi, the most colourful festival of the Hindus celebrated all over India. This is widely known as the festival of colour, spreading the message of friendship and goodwill. Celebrate this festival on the sundeck by playing with colours with music and dances. Later, explore Chandernagore and its colonial buildings walking along the promenade, passing by the former French governor's residence, now converted to a museum (closed on Thursdays, Saturdays and festival day). Visit the Sacred Heart Church, designed by French Architect Jacques Duchatz and inaugurated in 1884. Cruise towards Kolkata. Visit the St. Olav’s Church, known as the Danish Church. Moor in Kolkata. (B, L, D) 

Day 11 Disembark for your return flight. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


Excursions are on foot and may be over uneven ground and inclines.
The vessel takes up to 56 passengers but groups will be divided for sightseeing.
The programme may be altered due to navigational factors with locks, water levels or congestion at certain sites.

Time to relax or see even more of India!

No one can cover all of India on one tour, so why not make the most of your time in India by choosing further experiences?

We invite you to customise your tour by adding one or more extensions from our great range shown on the following pages. Relax in a resort or discover more of India with our specialist guides.

Also please consider adding extra nights before the tour if you would like to draw breath after the flight to India or stay on to reflect, relax or explore independently. Extra nights can also be added to most extensions. Please talk to one of our knowledgeable Personal Travel Experts to let us know what you are looking for and they will work out the best way. Sometimes extra transfers, internal flights and nights are recommended or needed, and sometimes two extensions can be combined into a more logical sequence.

Click here to view all our pre- and post- India extensions


per person in a twin/double Main Deck cabin
Emirates from Heathrow

Date Price
February 27 £2595
No Single Supplement

(limited dates/availability)

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

(limited dates/availability)
2023: All dates

Main Deck double for sole use £495

Cabin Upgrades

Upper Deck £295
Upper Deck double for sole use £1295
Premium cabin £495

Flight Options

Emirates from Manchester or Birmingham - nil
Emirates Business Class from £2095

Extension Options

We offer a wide variety of pre- and post-tour extensions, click here for more information.
Pre/post tour extra nights and transfers are available.

Independent Arrival

Save £600
Arrival or departure transfer add £24

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, all port charges, transfers, 9 night cruise, full board on cruise, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply

Not Included
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, tipping, porterage, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

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Artisans of Bengal

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